Ukraine Will Have Right To Use F-16S To Attack Military Targets In Russia - Stoltenberg


(MENAFN- UkrinForm) It will be up to each ally to decide whether to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but the country has the right to self-defense, including striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Brussels, Ukrinform reports.

Stoltenberg believes that the death of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the first Russian gains on the battlefield in months should help focus the attention of NATO and its allies on the urgent need to support Ukraine.

The NATO chief said the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the city of Avdiivka after months of intense fighting demonstrates the need for more military aid "to ensure that Russia doesn't make further gains."

Read also: First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete US F-16 training by summer

"I strongly believe that the best way to honor the memory of Alexei Navalny is to ensure that President Putin doesn't win on the battlefield, but that Ukraine prevails," Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine's allies have been focused on a $61 billion U.S. military aid package, Stoltenberg said, but while that remains stalled in the House of Representatives, other countries, including Sweden, Canada, and Japan, have stepped up their aid.

"Of course, we are focused on the United States, but we also see how other allies are really stepping up and delivering significant support to Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.

When asked when Ukraine will be able to deploy F-16 fighter jets, Stoltenberg said it was not possible to say. He reiterated that Ukraine's allies all want them to be there as early as possible but said the effect of the F-16s will be stronger if pilots are well-trained and maintenance crews and other support personnel are well-prepared.

"So, I think we have to listen to the military experts exactly when we will be ready to or when allies will be ready to start sending and delivering the F-16s," he said. "The sooner the better."

According to Stoltenberg, it will be up to each ally to decide whether to deliver F-16s to Ukraine, and allies have different policies. But at the same time, the war in Ukraine is a war of aggression, he said, and Ukraine has the right to self-defense, including striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.

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